Image by Renee Alfonso
Since I was younger I always kept a little notebook or album of items I collected from various places, like movie tickets, postcards, stickers, and fortune cookie sayings I liked. To this day I have a box on my bookshelf filled with museum and exhibition pamphlets that I tuck away under the category of “future reference.” Apart from my notebook of scraps and my box of leaflets, I also have a cork board that is perched next to my desk, however in recent years it hasn’t gotten much attention. For the cork board’s virtual counterpart, however, the opposite is true.
Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the exponential spread and use of the popular site Pinterest, whose name kind of explains itself – a virtual pin board where people can collect images of interest and inspiration onto boards that their friends can see or follow.
If you’re into image collecting and referencing, you’ll probably already have an account with Pinterest, and might have been building your pinboards for a while now. The Design Tree has an awesome Pinterest collection that you can follow as a matter of fact!
Pinterest isn’t the only virtual pinboard or image referencing / bookmarking site out there though, and since this form of social media has started to gain wider acceptance, more and more sites using this form of user interface seem to be showing up on the radar. Going through a few of them, I found that each site tries to bring its own sensibility and style to the land of the virtual pinboard.
To my knowledge FFFFound is one of the oldest image bookmarking sites in existence, and has probably as wide a range of categories as Pinterest, with the only downside being that membership is closed (meaning you can’t sign up or be invited anymore). It’s still a treasure trove of finds however, with the only downside that you can’t really sort anything you find and like.
Similar to FFFFound, We (heart) it is more of an image bookmarking site, with the difference that allows people to “heart” images and create what they call “inspiration galleries.” It is closer to pinterest in this sense, with the content focusing more on imagery that evoke a certain feel or attitude rather than being an illustration of a design or idea. The site itself feels geared to a younger audience, which is apparent in its branding and marketing.
Gentlemint boasts that it is “one of the more manly sites on the internet,” and it does not disappoint – the site is very much an all-manly things version of Pinterest, complete with a logo that boasts a moustache and a monocle. Contrary to popular belief however, there are guys active on pinterest – they’re just not as obsessive when it comes to pinning.
A rather new discovery of late, Designspiration is definitely growing on me, particularly because of the quality of the items being posted. It is a very targeted form of bookmarking, mainly for design afficionados and designers, but is filled with lots of great images of creative and innovative ideas, most of which were submitted by the creators themselves.
Perhaps most known in design circles is Dribble, which labels itself as “show and tell for designers.” The site is a platform for designers of all media to showcase something they’re currently working by submitting a snapshot. It’s a nice pool of activity that allows for quick referencing of someone’s work that could help spark new ideas when you’re in a little rut.
Remote image bookmaking seems to be an up and coming area of social media, and I think it also has the potential to become an avenue for collaborative creativity. What remains to be seen for the moment however, is how the user interface development ensues from hereon. Will it be used for more than just inspiration boards? Can it actually have a larger impact rather than increasing traffic on websites? The answers aren’t clear for now, but we might get an answer soon enough.